Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gan parties 2011, and our summer schedule

Well, oops, it's 24 hours before the first day of the 2011-12 school year - so maybe I should give you pictures of the gan parties from LAST year!


We're trying something new, so please follow this LINK to see the pictures I put on Facebook already. I tested it, you don't need to join FB or even be my 'friend' (gevalt) to see them.

I will sum up the parties for you:

  • Sroch does a long series of songs and 'tnuot' (movements) that are loosely tied together by a common theme (bought from the catalog of Themes for Gan Parties (TM)) featuring the different parts of the day. My favorite was the song on the theme of, "the other girl's sandwich always looks better than mine, but I'm going to eat mine anyway and not complain because my mommy made it for me with love." Good education gives me goosebumps.
  • Yes, I cried. Sroch was awesome.
  • Llama had a brachos-stations party theme, just like Sroch did at Morah Shoshana (shoot, never blogged that either, MAN!), with lots of running around and getting a necklace of salty snack thing at the Shehakol table, grape juice at the Hagafen table, play-doh carrot at the Adama table, orange stickers at the Haetz table, and braiding challah at the Hamotzi table.
  • I didn't cry. But Llama is total awesome. 

After gan ended, it was time for A Series of Fortunate Kaytanot (camps). Llama was at Morah Shoshi for most of it (every day, 9 AM (never got her there on time at 8) to 4 PM). Sroch was at Camp Kinderlach (she will happily recite about 10 hours of exported American cheers for you any time you like, and several you may not) (seriously though, it's a fantastic camp) for several weeks (every day, 9 AM to 3 PM). And now the two of them are together at Mrs. Lewin's Camp (TM) across the street, every day 8:45 AM to 1 PM. Thank God Yoav has been home in the afternoons these last couple of weeks.

I, of course, have been at Camp TalknSave, which is YOUR cell phone company in Israel, of course. We actually rock - I'm really proud to be working there.

It's now late Tuesday (um, shoot, early Wednesday). The girls IY"H start school on Thursday! Of course Llama may not have a classroom yet and there's still many rumors about whether or not they will have a tzaharon AT ALL but by golly gee it's going to be AMAZING!

God will work it out. He always does.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Well, it's good news and bad news on the shidduchim front:

Bad news: Llama snores.

Good news: Sroch is used to it.

"Doesn't mind snoring" I would think would get bonus points on the old shidduch resume. And as for Llama, we'll just buy her those nose strips before the wedding.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Back to my point of Llama's hiding-from-growing-up regression, she's been building herself a 'house' in the corner of te living room, all boxed in between table and couch and window and cardboard box, and happily spending many minutes hiding there.

Here's the lady of the house, sharing with a guest.

3 outa 413 ain't bad!

Since Potty Day, we have mostly been doing a lot of regressing.

Crying on the floor like an infant.
Not talking at all.
Playing with food (well, in a more infantile way than the mature two year old way).
Asking to be the baby.

And never, never, never saying yes to wearing underwear since the two days she tried it in gan and came home with wet socks. We even went to a toy store and she showed me what she would like to have - but when I offered it in exchange for toilet training, she said "nope!"

As I mentioned, right after Potty Day, she did try wearing underwear to gan for two days, and so now we have had three actual Uses of Toilet / Potty:

The Sunday and Monday after Potty Day, we used the toilet two times at gan (the teacher told me). Go us! But then also had accidents at said gan (item: impossible to get urine smell out of plastic shabbos shoes), and have refused to wear underwear ever since... UNTIL TONIGHT!

After our bath tonight, we asked to put on underwear, whereupon both of my overtired children sprinted around the house in merely their flowery or Dora-y undies, until Llama said - "I need to make!"


This was the first time she did it at OUR HOUSE!! Such a fuss we made - clapping and singing and dancing and giving her a toffee (hmm, could that be the reason she didn't fall asleep for 90 minutes after bedtime? Yup!) and a new sticker chart and everything. Yay!!

Of course, when it was time to get into bed (sigh, mixed messages) she first said "I want my diaper on top of the underwear" but then thought about a PullUp - nixed it - then opted for only diaper AND asked to sleep in her cribby.

Um, we put the cribby away a month ago kid.

So I whispered in her ear, once again, a secret: "You can wear underwear and still be little!" She laughed and said okay.



The truth is, the last three or four days, she's been telling me each time she wets her diaper, so it may just all be clicking physically along with mentally finally being willing to Grow Up.

A little, anyway.

Yay Llama! Go underwear girl, go!

How we grew

September, 2009:

August, 2011:

Psst.. my favorite part is showing how discolored the towel is from various, um... usage. Damp usage.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Thoughts on Leiby, from the floor

I've waited until tonight, Tisha b'Av, to write about Leiby Kletzky.

Like a large chunk of the Jewish world, I heard about him first when he was reported missing, and Jews were mobilizing to search for him and daven for him. I davened too, actually a bit more and with more intent and emotion than I usually daven for strangers. Premonition?

Like many, after he had been missing for more than a day, I was quietly sure in my heart that he was no longer alive, and at that point my tfilos increased, and also changed, praying that he would miraculously be found alive and whole but at least that he shouldn't have suffered. Because while I can understand that sometimes a 8 year old child has to leave this world, it is very, very difficult that an 8 year old child should have to suffer.

And then, when the truth emerged, the truth was beyond what my morbid, youth-spent-watching-cable-television mind could have thought of. While the facts could possibly indicate that somehow maybe Leiby didn't suffer too much, if he was drugged perhaps, the bald facts were so devastating, so gruesome, so searingly painful that when I read the first news reports I had trouble catching my breath.

And my first thoughts were not of my own children.

They were of Leiby's mother.

But quickly, quickly they did turn to my children, and to all children, and the thought came into my mind and would not leave and that was: Why, WHY strive to bring children into this world if they can be hurt so? Why, WHY would you do you that? Sure, if you happen to have a baby, okay, fine, but for people like us who had to really work hard to have children - why do such a thing? Who cares what the odds are. There is so much evil in the world, and the evil is of such a blackness and utter depravity that it cannot be purged, then why, WHY risk it?!

I have never had a fear of death. I still don't. But the fear of pain - that I have. The fear of my CHILDREN being in pain? It's paralyzing.

And I couldn't let that go. It took a sobbing conversation from the side of the highway (I was crying too much to drive home) with my wise mother to remind me of that critical point: Life is precious. Every moment, every breath, is precious, and worth fighting for, worth increasing.




Here I am on the floor again. It's Tisha b'Av - again (previous Tisha b'Av posts here here and here). There has been a ton written about how the entire Leiby Kletzky tragedy has done so much for Jewish unity - from the pray-ers and searchers to the mourners. Thousands have been raised already for good deeds in his memory. His parents and their reaction have inspired countless people.

Me, I still get that catch in my throat when I think about his mother, and how she much feel, when I think about what his last few hours may have been like. But I push it aside, because I have to go about my day. I may squeeze my daughters tighter to me in a rush of animal protectiveness, but I do let go. I push it aside.

I push it aside... for Tisha b'Av.

This is our official day of mourning, and in an inverse parallel of the Pesach seder, if this had been our only tragedy, dayeinu - it would have been enough.

If the Holocaust had been our only tragedy, dayeinu for a day of sitting on the floor.

If the pogroms, the Cossacks, the Inquisition had been it - dayeinu for a day of fasting, praying, crying.

But it's everything all together. All of those, the expulsions, the destructions, the murders, the missing Israel soldiers, the blood libels, the horrific car crashes, the everything.

But this year Hashem gave us Leiby Kletzky as the object lesson of this Tisha b'Av. He gave us a very direct way to feel the pain (note: as horrified as I have been by this tragedy, I am not so naive to think that this is the first Jewish child to be abducted and grossly murdered. But it is the first that I prayed for, watched for, tweeted for, before his death happened).




As I sat here on the floor for the seuda mafsekes (last meal before the fast, having chased Sroch and Llama both back to bed but not before they had a bite of my hardboiled egg with ash), I was descending into the numb silence of Tisha b'Av, and when I bentched I enunciated each Hebrew word perfectly in a sort of daze - and I noticed the last line of bentching, the line with which I began Tisha b'Av (because, not surprisingly, we were running late enough to run right up into sunset):

Hashem yivarech es amo ba shalom - God will bless his people with peace.



Since Leiby Kletzky was killed, I think of him every week (well, I think of him lots of times a week, but specifically...) when I daven for my girlies after I light shabbos candles every week. Now added to the litany of the things I pray for for them - health and wisdom and obedience (ahem) and kindness and their husbands and so on - I added that they should be safe.

It's odd, living in Israel which so many consider to be a war zone, that I never thought to pray for them to be safe before. But now I do pray - and only pray. I cannot lock them up in a tall tower, as I've publicly wished to do so so many times before. I cannot disallow them from going anywhere alone (item: Sroch sometimes takes Llama to gan on her own (after I 'cross her the street') - although I do surreptitiously trail them to make sure all is well, some of the time).

But it's something else to pray for, their safety.

And the lack of it is something else to mourn for, on this day of mourning.

To mourn for, and then move on.

....EDIT: to contribute to the Leiby Kletzky memorial fund, click here.